SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Despite worries that the San Francisco District Attorney’s office would abolish the Innocence Commission, DA Brooke Jenkins made a new appointment Monday to the body founded under her predecessor, according to a press release.
The commission, established by recalled District Attorney Chesa Boudin in 2020, is a six-member volunteer team who reviews cases where people may have been wrongfully convicted. They take a vote and make a recommendation on whether the person to the district attorney’s office.
Julia Cervantes, a lead attorney in the post-conviction review unit, was appointed to the commission by Jenkins. She replaces Arcelia Hurtado as the representative of the DA’s office on the panel.
“I am honored that District Attorney Jenkins has selected me to serve as the DA representative on the Commission,” Cervantes stated in the press release. “As a prosecutor, I am always mindful of the rights of the accused and that the responsibility of the prosecutor is to seek justice and not merely to convict. I am committed to a successful Innocence Commission with an equitable and transparent referral process. I look forward to working with the other members of the Innocence Commission and doing this important work.”
Jenkins was appointed the city’s top prosecutor over the summer by Mayor London Breed after Boudin, who was elected in 2019, was recalled amid concerns he was not tough enough on crime. Hurtado was among those fired by Jenkins following her ascension. She did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
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Cervantes was a deputy district attorney in San Mateo County and an assistant district attorney in San Francisco before her current role.
“On behalf of the Innocence Commission, we are excited to move forward and welcome Ms. Cervantes,” stated Lara Bazelon, the commissions chair and a law professor at the University of San Francisco. “We appreciate the district attorney’s respect for our work and commitment to vindicating the rights of those who were wrongfully accused and convicted. Seeking justice by uncovering the truth is the core of the prosecutor’s job, and we are pleased that we can continue to offer our service to further that all-important mission.”